Cory Gardner’s Win Confirms Anti-Women’s Health Politicians Can No Longer Win Statewide by Running on Their Record

Denver, CO – With both the decisive 70-30 rejection of Amendment 67 and the election of Cory Gardner to the U.S. Senate, Colorado voters sent a clear message that women’s access to reproductive health care is critically important, and that they don’t support candidates that run on an anti-women’s health platform.   

Planned Parenthood advocacy and political groups emphasized that the defeat of an extreme so-called “personhood” initiative makes clear that Coloradans want abortion to remain safe and legal and that voters expect Cory Gardner to stay true to his campaign promises to respect a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions. More so than any candidate in the country, Cory Gardner went to great lengths to moderate his positions on women’s health – even investing in TV ads and mail to claim he supports expanding women’s access to birth control, and reversing his long-held support for personhood measures.

“Tonight, Colorado voters have made clear that you can’t win statewide elections in Colorado by openly opposing women’s health and restricting access to safe and legal abortion,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  “That’s why voters flatly rejected the dangerous personhood amendment that would have banned abortion, and why Cory Gardner went to such great lengths to moderate his anti-women’s health positions. 

“We’ve always known this year would be an uphill battle for incumbent women’s health champions and it is clear that the central conversation about women’s health kept this race much closer than it would have been otherwise.  One thing is clear:  people in Colorado and across the country support women's access to birth control, preventive health care, and abortion, and they do not want legislators to restrict women's health,” continued Richards.

Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado on the defeat of Amendment 67, an extreme and dangerous ballot measure that would have banned abortion: “Once again, the women and families of Colorado have made it abundantly clear that they do not want the government interfering in women’s personal and private health care decisions.

“Even though Colorado voters have now decisively rejected extreme personhood amendments three times, we know this small but vocal group of opponents will try again – and we’ll be ready to fight these attacks on women’s health whenever they do.  We’ll also be ready to hold Cory Gardner accountable for the promises he made on the campaign trail about expanding women’s access to health care.  

“We fought hard in this campaign to protect the policies that help Colorado women lead healthy lives and succeed economically – and we will always fight for women to get the health care they need.”

Planned Parenthood advocacy and political groups worked hard in this campaign to ensure women got out to vote – reaching more than 500,000 Coloradoans at the doors with information about what was at stake in the U.S. Senate race in collaboration with Colorado Fair Share.  The No on Personhood - Vote No on 67 campaign committee, with significant support from Planned Parenthood organizations, knocked more than 85,875 doors and made more than 541,100 phone calls to voters with information about the ballot measure.

You can view TV ads from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes here and here; and radio and digital ads featuring Cecile Richards here and here.

Background:

  • It’s clear that Cory Gardner’s work to moderate his positions on women’s health were effective.
    • In 2010 Bennett won women 56 to 39 (16 point gender gap). Tonight, Udall won women 52 to 43 (12 point gender gap).
    •  According to preliminary data, Udall had a 71 percent lead with Latinos. 
    • Voters rejected Personhood 70-30 or so according to exits, on par with 2010 vote.
  • So-called “personhood” efforts are extreme and dangerous. If enacted, they could interfere with personal, private, medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. Colorado voters have rejected “personhood” two times by more than 70 percent of the vote. In 2011, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected a “personhood” initiative by a margin of 16 points.
  • Amendment 67 was more insidious than previous so-called “personhood” initiatives, which have been defeated by Colorado voters two times by over 70 percent of the vote, because it is focused on making changes to the Colorado criminal code and Colorado wrongful death act to include the unborn. It is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” as Nanette Santoro, M.D., chair and professor at the University of Colorado OB/GYN Departmentsummarized, because it “contains deliberately deceptive language designed to mislead Colorado voters” while its “ultimate goal is to criminalize abortion.”